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DragonClaws

Billy Blanks (Appreciation Thread)

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Billy Blanks was born in Erie Pennsylvannia, on the 1st of September 1955. Despite suffering from a hip anomaly, which he was born with. Blanks still pursued an interest in Martial Arts, aged just eleven he began attending Tae Kwon Do & Karate lessons. Eventually becoming attaining a seventh degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and became the leader of the 1980 U.S Olympic Karate Team. He made his acting debut in the T.V series Kids Incorporated(1984). It was working as a body guard for actress Catherine Bach, that helped him get his first movie role. He was written into the script of Driving Force(1988), after impressing the producers with his Martial Arts skills. This led to minor roles in other movies, such as Tango And Cash(1989) Bloodfist(1989) China O'Brien 2(1990) and A.W.O.L starring Jean Claude Van Damme. His role as the bad guy Khan, in the cult Martial Arts classic King Of The Kickboxers(1990) was his first substantial role. Which lead to him appearing/starring in a number of American produced Martial Arts actioners, including Talons Of The Eagle, Balance Of Power and Showdown, to name a few. Two of his most memorable roles was opposite the late Roddy Piper in Back In Action(1993) and Tough & Deadly(1995). He gained the attention of non Martial Arts film fans, with the success of his Tae-Bo exercise video. Which has later spawned into a series of ever expanding videos/DVD's which have grossed over $130 million dollars. At age 61 he is still active in the film and fitness industry’s. With a recent role in the 2017 production The Clapper starring Amanda Seyfried, which is currently in production. He relocated to Japan in 2009, and currently lives there with his second wife.

Additional Trivia

- He was the fourth of fifteen children in his family, battling Dyslexia and tendon problems.

- He was inducted into the Karate Hall Of Fame in 1982.

- Blanks has won 30 gold medals in International competition

- In 1984 he became the Massachusetts Golden Gloves Boxing Champion, and the Tri-State Golden Gloves Champion of Champions.

- Starred in a stage version of the musical Fame.

 

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Blanks pins down fellow Martial Artist Loren Avedon, in the finale of King Of The Kickboxers.

Edited by DragonClaws

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He's so popular in Japan the hit anime series Yo-Kai Watch has a character named after Blanks, Captain Bully

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One of the ending sequences even takes a page from Tae-Bo

Billy's son Billy Jr. has his own Boot Camp exercise video as well

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Billy's brother Michael had appeared in a few martial arts films in the 90's as well. His nickname was "The Kicking Machine" as like big bro Billy, Michael was quite the kicker himself. He even appeared with Billy in Expect No Mercy, but was in Dragon Fire and The Circuit films.

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Here's Michael fighting in Expect No Mercy

 

 

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met Billy when he was in Hong Kong for the oh it should have been so much of a better movie INVINCIBLE the French Foreign Legion movie with Dave Wang Chieh, Danny Lee & the late great Blackie Ko who also directed the movie, Wang Chieh's character joins the French Foreign Legion at one point where he meets all manner of motley gwailo's including Billy B, Jerry Trimble and Stefanos Miklos, and a very skinny young me can be seen mucking around in the barracks with Mike Miller, Steve Brettingham and co

Sadly not the best movie and Billy's character is not the most PC, and its a real waste of the talent of the fighters involved, dodgy gunplay and rough housing...

Billy was cool though, nice guy and was talking about his early ideas for Billy Blanks Karate Aerobics which became Tai Bo

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On 05/04/2017 at 5:17 AM, Mike Leeder said:

Sadly not the best movie and Billy's character is not the most PC, and its a real waste of the talent of the fighters involved, dodgy gunplay and rough housing...

Shame this didnt turn out better, I was thinking about getting hold of a copy until reading the above line.

 

Here's a link for my review of Tough & Deadly-

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Edited by DragonClaws

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Invincible had so many problems, originally it was meant to star Andy Lau, then Dave Wong (Wang Chieh) was hired and he's not the most physical performer, great guy, incredible singer and great haunted troubled look.... and production did halt for a while after he and Blackie Ko had a very physical falling out during shooting

When filming resumed, they seemed to have lost the spark, they really wasted Billy, Jerry (i dont think he throws more than a punch) and Stefanos, the big action scenes kept getting pared down and the finale we spent about a week running around in the woods doing night vision stuff and they just cut the action down to nothing...big disappointment

And Billy i don't think was very happy about the way his character is portrayed, his introductory dialogue sets the tone....

At one point there was talk of Billy being brought in to fight Jackie on Twin Dragons in the finale, which i think 91/92 era for both would have been epic

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On 10/04/2017 at 2:33 AM, Mike Leeder said:

At one point there was talk of Billy being brought in to fight Jackie on Twin Dragons in the finale, which i think 91/92 era for both would have been epic

That would have been great, and as much as I enjoy Twin Dragons, a Blanks VS Chan finale would have surely enhance the movie a lot.

Thanks for sharing the information about the Invincible production.

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Here's one of Blanks' first on-screen fights, against Leo Fong in Low Blow (1986)

Blanks against Keith Cooke after Cooke beats Chris Casamassa and David Brooks in China O'Brien II

 

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2 hours ago, AlbertV said:

Here's one of Blanks' first on-screen fights, against Leo Fong in Low Blow (1986)

Thanks for those Albert, Blanks also had a minor role in the opening of A.W.O.L. He plays one of the foreign legion soldiers that trys to stop Van Dammes escape.

 

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You can check out my thoughts/ramblings on the Billy Blanks actioner Balace Of Power, just click n the link belwo, thank you.

Blanks appears to defy aging, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

 

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Before Billy Blanks was kicking butt on screen, he was kicking butt in Martial Art compititions.

 

Blanks having a rest between sets, the guys still in great shape.

 

Edited by DragonClaws

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Here's my latest review, featuring the Billy Blanks among other talents.

Please click on the link below, for my full review, thank you.

 

90's U.K VHS cover.

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